Baldrige on the Block?

Program listed among possible cuts to federal budget

Since four straight years of the U.S. federal budget running in the black during the Clinton administration, red has made a comeback in the government ledgers, topping out at a deficit of more than $1.4 trillion in 2009.1

Now, after Republicans dominated November’s mid-term elections, there’s more talk about balancing the budget, and one proposal put the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program on the chopping block.

Shortly after the recent elections, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR), released a list of proposed cuts and adjustments totaling more than $200 billion,2 and many are viewing it as a jumping-off point for a new era of fiscal responsibility.

Some of the proposed cuts skew closer to reining in ballooning spending—such as the $14 billion federal travel budget and the $1.3 billion that federal employees spend on office printing. But others involve taking a paring knife to the federal budget, including a pair of programs aimed at U.S. businesses—the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (HMEP) and the Baldrige program.

Erskine, the White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, claim the elimination of those programs would save $120 million, but suggest they could live on, albeit through "fees charged to the beneficiaries." The pair added, "Businesses should already have enough incentives to maintain the quality of their products without awards from the Baldrige National Quality Program."3

The inclusion of the Baldrige program on a list of budget cuts—even a speculative one—was met with disappointment from ASQ, which has administered the program since 1991.

In a letter to the NCFRR, ASQ CEO Paul Borawski wrote, "Certainly, this is not the right message to our U.S. companies that have learned firsthand how beneficial the program is. And, with the popularity the program has gained globally, it would not be a positive message to other countries."4

Borawski also highlighted the benefits of following the Baldrige criteria, which are used by organizations around the world, many of which will never apply for the award itself. "That means that all those organizations are striving to do better and better each year by using the Baldrige criteria," he said. "There is no other program like this in the world, and in fact, other countries utilize the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program as a model."5

Others were also quick to chime in, including the board of directors from the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The board requested that the Baldrige program’s $10 million budget be considered separately from the HMEP’s $110 million budget and, like Borawski, pointed out the benefits that extend well beyond the trophies bestowed upon the Baldrige recipients.

"There is an apparent misconception that the Baldrige National Quality Program is primarily an awards program…In fact, the awards are only the culmination of the evaluation process that scores of organizations undertake each year," the board said, adding that the Baldrige criteria is downloaded about 2 million times each year by organizations looking to "improve their performance and competitiveness."6

Ultimately, the NCFRR voted against sending its proposal to Congress. But with 11 of the 18 members voting in favor of the plan (14 were needed to force a vote on the proposal in the House and Senate), it’s still possible the recommendations will crop up again as President Barack Obama considers this year’s budget.

In fact, according to Courthouse News, "Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew, invited the commission to meet with him and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner to discuss specific deficit-reduction proposals."7

—Brett Krzykowski, assistant editor


  1. Congressional Budget Office, "Budget and Economic Outlook: Historical Budget Data," p. 1, www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10871/historicaltables.pdf.
  2. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, "$200 Billion in Illustrative Savings," Nov. 12, 2010.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Paul Borawski, "ASQ Letter to the NCFRR," Nov. 23, 2010, http://asq.org/public/media-room/asq-fiscal-commission-letter-20101123.pdf.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, "Baldrige and Alliance Fiscal Commission Letter to the NCFRR," Nov. 22, 2010, http://asq.org/public/media-room/baldrige-fiscal-commission-letter-20101123.pdf.
  7. Avery Fellow, "Deficit-Reduction Plan Sinks With Majority Vote," Dec. 3, 2010, www.courthousenews.com/2010/12/03/32311.htm.

2010 Baldrige award recipients announced

Seven organizations have received the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. This class of recipients marks the first time three small businesses have received the award in the same year. Only one other time in the award’s 23-year history have seven organizations been honored in the same year.

Freese and Nichols Inc. of Fort Worth, TX, K&N Management of Austin, TX, and Studer Group of Gulf Breeze, FL, were Baldrige recipients in the small business category. MEDRAD of Warrendale, PA, and Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. of St. Louis were recipients in the manufacturing category. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital of Downers Grove, IL (healthcare), and Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, MD (education), round out the 2010 class.



The number of ASQ members recently recognized for holding the most ASQ certifications. The 11 members who hold 14 of 18 ASQ certifications are:

  • Muralidhar Audipudy, Round Lake, IL.
  • Mahlon Cashman, Westfield, MA.
  • Sheldon Dummer, Grayslake, IL.
  • Peter Ganavazos, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • Rajinder Kapur, Troy, MI.
  • John Lee, Sandy, UT.
  • Yeo Leong, Singapore.
  • William Meyer, O’Fallon, MO.
  • Francois Pageau, Le Gardeur, Quebec.
  • Kevin Quigg, Carol Stream, IL.
  • Michael Young, Neosho, MO.


Survey Paints Optimistic Picture for Manufacturers

Most North American manufacturers seem upbeat about the new year and predict revenue growth, according to a recent ASQ survey.

In the second annual ASQ Manufacturing Outlook Survey, 68% of respondents predicted their organizations will grow revenue in 2011. This percentage of respondents is slightly higher than the 64.7% who predicted revenue growth in 2010, a number that proved to be pretty accurate: 67% of this year’s respondents indicated that organizations did, in fact, experience revenue growth last year.

In addition, the survey showed two promising areas for organizations: payroll and operational budget. For instance:

  • 18% of respondents expected their organization to institute a pay freeze this year. That’s down from 44.8% in 2010.
  • 18% of respondents predicted mandatory budget cuts in 2011, which is less than the 35.2% of survey takers who predicted it in 2010.

Respondents were also asked if they thought staff reductions or cutbacks implemented in 2010 negatively affected the quality of their organizations’ work: 33% said they believed the quality of products and services was negatively impacted, and 32% said they didn’t.

Advice to offer

In addition to the questions about the outlook for 2011, respondents were asked to offer advice to other manufacturers on ensuring revenue growth. Responses included:

  • Listening to employees.
  • Focusing on high-quality products and continual improvement.
  • Building quality into the manufacturing process and in every department.
  • Keeping current customers satisfied, and be ready to meet their needs with little lead time.
  • Implementing more lean processes.

"Though it appears the manufacturing sector is still facing some challenges on the road to full economic recovery, the incremental gains shown in this survey are very promising," said Peter Andres, ASQ’s board chair. "Organizations still need to focus on and increase customer satisfaction, however, and implement continuous improvement practices to remain competitive."

There were 1,183 responses to the survey, which was conducted Oct. 24-Nov. 5. Respondents were mostly from the United States and Canada, with a handful of international responses. For more on the survey, visit www.asq.org/media-room/press-releases/2010/20101116-manufacturing-outlook-shows-growth.html.


Zero Defects Developer Dies

David C. Crosby, considered a quality thought leader and a strong proponent of the zero defects theory, has died. He was 80.

Crosby worked with his late brother, Philip, to develop and refine the key tenets of zero defects, which states that if people commit themselves to watching details and avoiding errors, they can move closer to the goal of zero defects.

Crosby worked at Martin Co. (now Lockheed Martin), RCA, General Instruments and Portec Inc. In 1980, he founded the Crosby Co. to create software and training programs for quality control. He’s also the author of How to Get Your People to Do Things Right, Quality Is Easy and The Zero Defects Option.



TITLE CHANGE The ASQ Board of Directors recently voted to change Paul Borawski’s title from ASQ executive director and chief strategic officer to CEO. The change reflects efforts to align Borawski’s position and standing with other organizations’ top leaders and executives.

NEW ASQ DIRECTOR ASQ has named John T. Fowler as managing director of ASQ Global, the division that oversees ASQ’s expansion throughout the world. Fowler has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including executive roles in sales and marketing. Recently, Fowler served as chief global services officer of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention.

SOFTWARE EVENT The ASQ Software Division’s annual International Conference on Software Quality will be held Feb. 8-10 in San Diego. For more information, visit www.asq-icsq.org.

BOOKS GO ELECTRONIC For the first time, ASQ Quality Press books are available in Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iTunes stores. The Quality Toolbox, second edition, ISO Lesson Guide 2008: Pocket Guide to ISO 9001:2008, third edition, and Making Change Work: Practical Tools for Overcoming Human Resistance to Change can be accessed and read on desktops, laptops and mobile phones. More ASQ Quality Press titles will be added to the online stores.

PRESIDENT-ELECT KEYNOTES EVENT James J. Rooney, ASQ’s president-elect, will be the opening keynote session speaker at the 19th Annual International Conference on ISO 9000 & QMS on March 14 in San Antonio. For more about the conference, visit http://asq.org/conferences/iso-9000.

FORMER PRESIDENT HONORED Former ASQ President Mike Nichols has been elected fellow of the Israel Society for Quality (ISQ). He is only the second non-Israeli to achieve this status. At an event in November, Nichols was recognized for "considerably strengthening the cooperation between ISQ and ASQ through the world partner program" and for "all of his achievements in the field of quality."


Ott Scholarship Applications Available

Applications for the 2011-2012 Ellis R. Ott Scholarship are now available through ASQ’s Statistics Division.

The $5,000 scholarships are for students in master’s degree or higher programs with a concentration in applied statistics or quality management.

For more information and an application form, visit www.asqstatdiv.org. Applications are due April 1. You may direct questions about the scholarship to Lynne B. Hare at lynne.hare@comcast.net.


American Version of SR Standard Approved

The U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TMB/WG on Social Responsibility (SR) approved the American National Standard (ANS) version of ISO 26000 late last year.

The international and U.S. versions of the standards are virtually the same, with the exception of spelling from British to American English. The ANS version will be available shortly after the ANSI Standards Action public review period, which ends Jan. 10.

"[The ANS version] will have an impact much the way that ISO 14001 and the 9000 series standards did—namely, that companies and organizations will view the standard in context of their own business goals, their culture and ethics and the markets they serve," said Mary McKiel, U.S. EPA standards executive and chair of the SR TAG group.

"I think some consumer and nongovernmental organization groups may use the standard as a benchmark for viewing the overall social responsibility of organizations, and it’s hard at this point to see what that might entail," McKiel said.

The standard is available through ASQ at www.asq.org/social-responsibility-standard/index.html.


Quick Poll Results

Each month at www.qualityprogress.com, visitors can take an informal survey, and we post the results.

Here are the numbers from a recent Quick Poll:

"How do you plan to develop professionally in 2011?"

  • Certification 52%
  • Courses at college/university 19.8%
  • ASQ or other professional conferences 19.1%
  • Webinars on quality topics 9%

Visit www.qualityprogress.com for the most recent poll question:

"What’s the best way to get the most out of employees?"

  • Autonomy in the workplace.
  • Higher salaries, bonuses and benefits.
  • Promotions.
  • Training and other learning opportunities.


QP looks back on a person or event that made a difference in the history of quality.

Jan. 15, 1987

Motorola officially launched the concept of Six Sigma on this date and set the Six Sigma goal of achieving less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities throughout an organization. Since then, the Six Sigma method of improving business performance has spread to countless other organizations throughout the world.



Two tables in separate sections of the 2010 QP Salary Survey (December 2010, pp. 16-55 and online) were incomplete. Section 3’s Table 2—Salary by number of years of experience in quality and job title for U.S. respondents (pp. 40-41)—and Section 17’s Table 1—Salary by highest level of education, years of experience in the quality field and job title (online)—have been reposted. Results can be found at www.qualityprogress.com/salarysurvey. QP regrets the error.

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